As the only all-girls full boarding school in the North of England, 75% of girls at Queen Margaret’s are full boarders and all day girls have a bed. The full boarding nature encourages busy weekends with a myriad of opportunities to look forward to at the end of each week. The School provides an immense variety of activities, clubs and societies and other enrichment opportunities while never sacrificing the needs of the individual girl.
Weekends at Queen Margaret’s involve a vast array of activities. As well as sports fixtures, rehearsals and Sunday Chapel, days out include everything from high energy trips to the trampoline park, climbing wall and go karting, to more relaxed visits to museums and stately homes, the cinema, shopping and craft making. Activities are also arranged in School including House pizza nights, pampering evenings and fashion shows.
Sixth Formers can also enjoy the Cardio Suite and Cellars, the recently refurbished social hub. By day it is a place to sit, chat, read and drink a coffee and at night the flat screens and surround sound transform the venue into a place for parties, dances and impromptu gigs.
Queen Margaret’s also offers support to girls who wish to pursue their passions and has supported girls in many different disciplines from Politics to Pentathlon to Eventing where two girls have achieved the title of U18 National Champion.
A great strength of the School is its horizontal boarding, with facilities and pastoral care tailored to each year group and vertical ‘team’ houses ensuring integration across the years. A thriving weekend life with all girls in School is critical to QM’s strength as a full boarding school. To take this to the next level, the innovation of girl-led Community Weekends was introduced in September 2017.
There are 12 QM Community Weekends scheduled in the calendar each year, each one led by vertical houses or other bodies of students such as the International Council. This bottom-up methodology encourages our girls to take full responsibility and consult with all year groups to devise themes and content based upon what the girls want, helping them to hone the art of compromise and negotiation.
The shift has been clear to see. Community Weekends have worked to create an exciting and vibrant weekend packed full of activities and our girls want to stay for the weekend and take an active part in the activities on offer. And of course the spin-off of driving vertical integration has helped to strengthen further the unique QM community spirit.
Community Weekends encourage the older girls to take charge and lead on design, planning and delivery, with support from the QM Boarding Team. Once ideas have been formulated, the girls discuss plans with the QM Boarding Team to enable ideas to be fine-tuned, determine what is feasible and provide help with risk assessments and bookings.
Tania Davidson, QM Director of Boarding comments on the innovation: “Community Weekends empower the girls to take responsibility, think creatively, plan effectively and have consideration for what will work across the different year groups. Some weekends have proved more successful than others which has created a brilliant learning platform as they work hard to overcome the day-to-day issues of organising events, strive to improve the creative format of the weekend and deliver excellence.”
Team working is vital, encouraging the girls to contribute, putting forward their ideas and enthusiasm during the planning process. This helps the girls to learn about event planning, whilst further developing communication and leadership skills. During the weekend the challenge is to organise the girls to be where they are supposed to be at the right times and ensure everything runs to plan. The girls are encouraged to make a video to share and celebrate their weekend which sees the girls take on the various roles of
filmmaker, producer and director.
QM Community Weekends encourage the girls to engender mutual respect through careful consideration of the theme of the weekend and activities which are suitable for all year groups. By giving responsibility to the girls, this popular initiative works to inspire confident
List of Community Weekends 2017/18 Academic Year (held to date):
* 10 September 2017 Pitlochry Scottish Theme
* 15 October 2017 Head Girl and Deputies Halloween Theme
* 12 November 2017 St Aidan’s Indian Theme
* 3 December 2017 Charity and Events Prefect Charity
* 24 February 2018 QM Hall Adventure and Teambuilding
* 17 March 2018 Performing Arts Performing Arts
This is what the QM girls have to say about Community Weekends:
“It’s a good way to integrate with the other years. When I joined I knew nobody but now I basically know every single person and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the Community Weekends which bring everybody together.”
Gabriella, Year IV
“They are really good fun and we get to do a lot. We get to go outdoors and do lots of different activities. I particularly like the food and how it is themed. Community Weekends bring us all together across the different age groups. I give them the thumbs up!”
Hattie, Year I
“Community Weekends are mostly organised by Prefects. For my Community Weekend we did a Halloween theme and Trick or Treating. We took the girls around the houses collecting sweets and solving riddles. It was a great way to get to know them rather than that sit down dinner where you actually have to force conversation, but to actually enjoy a tradition that everyone knows and loves and relax and be with each other. It’s not something we get to do during the week.”
See the link below for a selection of videos from past Community Weekends:
Demonstrating how and why teamworking is so important, QM Community Weekends encourage the girls to all take an active part in all activities and importantly have fun!